‘Running priest’ is in Naga City, Cebu to help fight against ‘EJK of trees’

Fr. Roberto Reyes to run along national highway to protest against the scheduled cutting of 32 century-old trees

By: Rosalie Abatayo - CDN Digital | October 17,2019 - 12:30 PM

Fr. Roberto Reyes speaks to the members of the Cebu media in a press conference held at a coffee shop in Cebu City on Thursday morning, October 17, 2019. CDN Digital photo | Rosalie Abatayo

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Environmentalist priest Fr. Roberto Reyes will run along the national highway of Naga City, Cebu on Thursday, October 17, 2019, to protest against the scheduled cutting of 32 century-old trees.

Reyes said the cutting of the trees is a form of “extra judicial killing” (EJK) against the trees.

“That’s EJK. That’s a new way of looking at it. It’s an EJK of trees, an EJK of nature. The rights of nature are being violated and nobody, very few, is speaking up against it,” Reyes said in a press conference this morning.

Reyes said he will run along the national highway and tie a white ribbon around each tree that is marked to be cut.

Reyes also refuted the arguments of the Department of Public Works and Highways that the trees in the roadside pose danger to the motorists.

“It’s the opposite. Trees have a very calming effect. More motorists, if they see don’t see tree, that’s when they speed up,” Reyes said.

The now widened roads, according to Reyes, have cause the accidents because the streets “have become race tracks.”

At least 32 trees in Naga has been marked by the DPWH for cutting to complete the road widening project there. 

Some of these trees were on top of the carriage way and the sidewalks while others were right outside the gutter.

The tree cutting in Naga City has been suspended for one week pending the reassessment and re-evaluation of the DPWH, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-7) and the city government.

Governor Gwendolyn Garcia earlier said that trees outside the gutter, upon assessment of their health and if the do not interfere with the drainage in the area, may be spared. /bmjo

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